France, Fiji Negotiate Closer Military Cooperation

Status of Forces Agreement likely to result in joint military operations

By Losalini Bolatagici

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, May 31, 2016) – A status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between Fiji and France is currently being negotiated that is expected to structure and facilitate even further military co-operation between the two countries.

French ambassador to Fiji Michel Djokovic said Fiji and France co-operation was not a unilateral assistance from a big country to a small one but it was a mutually beneficial co-operation between two partners who also acted internationally on the ground for peace.

Last night, the French Embassy also hosted representatives from 13 different countries — Australia, Canada, Chile, Fiji, France, Japan, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Tonga, Vanuatu, the United Kingdom and the United States — in their preparation for the upcoming multinational military exercise Croic du Sus (Southern Cross).

Fiji will be participating in this exercise for the first time — they only acted as observers in 2014. Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) Land Force Commander Litea Seruiratu said they were thankful and grateful to the French troops for their engagement especially those based in Noumea. She said they were also excited about the Status of Forces Agreement which was expected to be formalised very soon and it would cover all their military engagements and defence co-operation.

As part of this deal, more joint military exercises are in the pipeline for the two defence forces and Fiji army officers will be learning French for future activities and for peacekeeping duties overseas.

Fiji Times Online.
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